By Far, the digitally native affordable luxury accessories label that helped bring back the ’90’s tuck-under-your-arm bag, and counts Gigi and Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber and other “It” girls as devotees, has opened its first retail store.
Located on Melrose Place in Los Angeles, the 2,000-square-foot boutique stocks the six-year-old brand’s full collection of “Rachel” bags (named after Jennifer Aniston’s “Friends” character Rachel Green), circular croco minibags as seen on Alexa Demie’s “Euphoria” character Maddy, and minimalist Tonya, Roni and Lima sandals in acid bright croco and patent leather.
The light-filled, organic-modern interior was developed with New York design studio De-yan, using AI to analyze By Far’s social platforms and translate them into a color palette. It includes a mood-lifting bright orange VIP room, and a circular recessed seating ring to hang out and try on shoes. (Prices range from $155 for scarves and bag charms to $630 for large bags, with shoes falling in between.)
The custom floor is made from imperial green marble and travertine stones mimicking the brand’s croco pattern. Soft art and design pieces by up-and-coming brands like Rodi Studio, along with one-of-a-kind vintage furniture pieces by the Italian painter and sculptor Lino Bersani, accent the space.
By Far was launched in Bulgaria in 2016 by three cofounders — sisters Sabina Gyosheva, who is the chief executive officer, and Valentina Ignatova, who is the chief marketing officer, and their friend Denitsa Bumbarova, who is chief creative officer. The collection is designed between Sofia, Bulgaria; Sydney, and London, and sold through more than 300 retail accounts worldwide.
The brand first gained notice for its shoes, including the Claude lace-up, square-toed boot.
When Jane Fonda hit the red carpet at Cannes in 2018 in white, square-toe By Far Este boots, the fitness guru dropped to the ground to demonstrate her scissor kicks.
The brand experienced more growth when it launched bags in 2018, with Mimi Cuttrell snapping them up for her clients Gigi and Bella Hadid, who wore the cult styles alongside their Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton. The relationship has continued and the stylist collaborated with By Far on a capsule collection in stores now.
“We felt like we have so many connections with those special girls based here, and we love L.A. In the beginning lots of people thought we were an L.A. brand,” Gyosheva said during an interview at the Instagram-loved Alfred next door to the store. “We are a very digital brand so it was a journey to learn who we are in a physical sense.”
“We wanted to create a place where our community and guests would feel comfortable and connected,” Bumbarova said.
When asked about being early to ’90s nostalgia, which has seen nearly every other brand jumping on the bandwagon, Prada and Celine included, Bumbarova said, “I lived through the ’90s, I’m almost 43 so those were my teenage years. I was also modeling a little outside Bulgaria at the time and it was my style.”
Despite the pandemic, By Far doubled its sales in 2020, and is preparing to seek its first round of outside investment.
“We have grown 10 times since our first year, and we are still independent,” Gyosheva said.
Though the brand has no plans to give up wholesale, physical retail is a big priority. By Far will launch its second store in Shanghai in September, and is evaluating options in Europe. “We want to have our own presence and identity in big cities like New York, Miami and Beijing, where our community is, because we want to strengthen our relationships with our clients.”
And they are not stopping with accessories.
“We want to become a full lifestyle company,” Gyosheva said. “We see doing every category through our lens, including apparel. Our style is exciting but wearable, it suits everything in your wardrobe, but it is also still animated and fun.” And the colors, including baby pink, lavender and super green, are vivid and chic but not rainbow and childish, she said.
The founders recognize that it’s a big investment to open alongside Gucci, Balmain and other luxury labels on Melrose Place. “Either you do it in a big way or you don’t do it,” Ignatova said.
To celebrate, the brand will close down part of the street on Wednesday night for a 100-person dinner and a musical performance. Expect lots of “It” girls.